Work is now under way on the latest phase of Wokingham Borough Council’s greenways project – a network of mostly traffic-free routes to make active travel to key destinations in the borough much easier.
The latest section of this project, which is being carried out in phases, will cross Woosehill Meadows in Wokingham town between Reading Road and Heron Road, as part of a wider route linking Cantley Park to the north with Arborfield Cross to the west.
Contractors have started creating a new path (pictured right - final surfacing still to be applied) from the north of Woosehill Meadows, near to the Reading Road underpass, heading south through Woosehill Meadows to the Kingfisher Bridge. Work has also started on a link from Smiths Walk to Heron Road.
Most should finish by early August, with further works including the installation of a new bridge over the Emm Brook at the northern end of Woosehill Meadows expected in the autumn.
Carefully planned to offer the most benefits
Residents were consulted before construction began and based on feedback, changes were made to the route before it was finalised. The council is also working with the South East Rivers Trust to avoid conflict with the trust’s planned works on the meadows.
When finished, the route will have a hard, permeable surface to make it accessible in all weathers, particularly for wheelchair users and people pushing buggies or prams as well as cyclists, skateboarders, roller blades and push scooters.
The next phase, starting later this summer, will be surfacing works at Coombes Lane and Coles Lane. In April next year, the bridge at the Coles Lane ford will be replaced to make crossing easier for pedestrians and people with impaired mobility.
The final section will run from Heron Road to Bearwood Road via the woodland at Fox Hill, with the final route fixed following the conclusion of discussions with landowners.
This greenway is one of eight which the council is creating. The first one, running from Arborfield to Finchampstead via the California Way through California County Park, opened in 2020.
The project will continue to be rolled out over the next 10 years or so and also includes the River Loddon Long Distance Path, linking the Thames Valley Path in the north of the borough in Wargrave to the Blackwater Valley Path at Swallowfield to the south.
Greenways are largely funded by developers building homes on the council’s four major developments at Arborfield Garrison, Shinfield Parish and North and South Wokingham under its Local Plan.
A healthy, green legacy to last generations
Cllr Ian Shenton, the council’s new executive member for environment, sport and leisure, said: "Our greenways represent a smart, versatile investment in green infrastructure to serve residents of all ages for generations to come.
"We know there’s been some disruption while these works are carried out and we’d like to thank everyone for bearing with us while we work to finish as quickly as possible."
Cllr Clive Jones, the council’s new leader, said: "As well as improving vehicle-free access for travelling to work, leisure or social appointments, which can help to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions, the greenways offer more chances to embrace an active lifestyle and enjoy the stress-relieving benefits of time spent in nature."
The council will announce further details about the next phases as soon as they are confirmed.
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